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For me, painting is such a rewarding response to the world around us.  I am fascinated by nature’s elements, just as they are. It is such a pleasure to stand around and worry about how one set of colors may be different from another set of colors as a part of studying why something looks the way that it does.  It is a wonderful way to connect with a time and a place.  When it is a gray day, I paint a gray day because I am curious about just which gray that is, after all.  A passerby once asked me:  “Are you painting this drab rainy day?”  I said:  “Yes.  It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  And it was.  I feel that I am here to learn from nature, and to enjoy its subtleties and rhythms as much as possible. closeup of the painting clouds, corn, and clover
What we painters do is extremely old-fashioned.  It contradicts much of the pace of the modern world, and yet so much good comes from standing on one spot for hours or days. You become a temporary fixture in a community.  People share their stories, things happen, and any of it can become a part of the painting or have an effect on the development of the painting. One important thing always strikes me whenever standing still for more than even a few moments, and that is the sense of ongoing change.  Sometimes it is slow, but everything is moving.  This is an important element that I’m always trying to bring into my work.  I want my paintings to feel that they are not of a frozen moment.  Each moment is part of a fluid and living thing, and I am trying to capture some of that sensation.

I approach my figurative paintings with many of the same aesthetic and philosophical elements at work.  There is color, and light, and life going on.  I like to joke that: “the real adventure is at home,” and it is a very rich world.  I decided to begin my figurative work right at the center of my heart, which holds my wife and our daughter growing up.  It’s difficult for an artist to paint as fast as a young person grows up, and so I do both pieces about life as it is today, along with some reflections on how things used to be.  Many moments have been tidbits just too charming and delightful for me to resist painting, while other moments can carry more meaning.  This is one of the things I love about representational painting, where everything is not only what it is.  A child exploring for example, can be an expression of or a reflection on all of our explorations.

closeup from the painting titled voyaging
detail from the painting titled summer bubbles

I find that figure painting calls up and invites a unique kind of focus and energy.  Many awkward phases and passages need to be endured, and time spent in questioning and refining.  Another person is a subject that is so easy for something to look “not quite right,” but the delight that can come from seeing a person or an idea around relationships take shape on a canvas makes the efforts worthwhile.  As with all my paintings, I do my best to direct my energies toward painting not everything, but what is most important about the subject, and painting to my heart’s content.  My own evolution is a movement towards greater trust in that quiet part of myself.  It’s worth every bit of calm and patience in listening and in waiting for it, because it really does know what it wants to say and how it wants to say it.